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Sub Kasumba rescues point for Sofapaka

Umaru Kassumba wheels away in celebration joined by John Avire after scoring an injury time equalizer against Vihiga United. PHOTO/Sofapaka

KAKAMEGA, Kenya, Jan 13 – Umaru Kassumba came off the bench to score in added time as Sofapaka came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Vihiga United at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on Sunday evening.

A lapse in concentration in the Sofapaka backline saw Vihiga take the lead through Amos Kigadi, but Kasumba who had come on at the start of the second half for Kepha Aswani nudged home the equalizer in added time.

In an almost full to capacity Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega, it was the home side Vihiga who had the better chances in the opening half, Sofapaka custodian Justin Ndikumana making three brilliant stops that kept his side in the game.

Ndikumana was making his full debut for Batoto ba Mungu having come on as a second half substitute last weekend against Tusker FC in Machakos after Richard Aimo was injured.

-Ndikumana brilliant save

The Burundian made a brilliant stop on the quarter hour mark, leaping superbly to his left to parry away a stinging volley struck from distance with pace and power by Kevin Muhanji.

Sofapaka made a swift response and should have surely gone ahead a minute later when Dennis Odhiambo’s well delivered freekick from the left found Stephen Waruru isolated inside the box but the former Ulinzi Stars man’s connection was off target unmarked at the backpost.

Sofapaka striker John Avire wheels past Vihiga United’s Collins Kisuya during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on January 13, 2019. PHOTO/Sofapaka

Odhiambo had a go at goal himself in the 22nd minute off a freekick from range but his shot went straight to the wall.

Vihiga, cheered on by the partisan crowd were playing with pace and sticking to direct football and Ndikumana was called into yet another glorious save after 28 minutes.

The keeper leaped high to tip over a stinging and well curled freekick by Collins Kisuya as the visitors continued living dangerously.

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A minute to the break, Ndikumana was once again well placed to collect a freekick well struck by Michael Isabwa who was one of the most exciting players in the opening 45.

-Double change

In the second half, Sofapaka coach Melis Medo started by bringing off Aswani and Faina Jacobs for Kasumba and Cliff Kasuti as he sought a more dynamic approach to the attack.

Sofapaka started the second half well and camped in the Vihiga box as they looked for the opening goal.

Sofapaka striker John Avire controls the ball under pressure from Vihiga United’s Collins Kisuya during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on January 13, 2019. PHOTO/Sofapaka

Just four minutes in, the visitors had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when a cross from Waruru landed on John Avire’s chest, but the striker’s shot from inside the box unmarked was saved by the Vihiga keeper.

Sofapaka camped in the Vihiga half, but could not get a breakthrough, all their cross-balls being cut out by the central defensive pairing of Smith Ouko and Bernard Ochieng standing tall.

The visitors were caught off flat on their feet, a lack of communication between impressive keeper Justin Ndikumana and Mousa Omar seeing Kigadi pick the ball easily and tap into an empty net.

Immediately after the goal, Medo made changes, Cornelius Juma replacing Waruru.

-Frantic defending

In the 74th minute, Vihiga survived by the skin of their teeth when they just but managed to poke away an inswinging freekick from Dennis Odhiambo.

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Mike Oduor also had a chance with a clean shot from inside the box after another delivery wasn’t cleared, but once again the keeper came to their rescue with a fine save.

Vihiga immediately launched a counter with Sofapaka having sent all bodies upfront, but Kigadi missed with only Ndikumana to beat when he sent the ball inches wide.

Having dodged the bullet, Sofapaka piled the pressure and they were rewarded in the final minute of added time when Kasumba raced to a rebound after the keeper had spilled Avire’s shot to pounce and poke it home.

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